October 05 – Asteroid 36 Atalante

There’s not a great deal to say about 36 Atalante, except that it is in the main belt, has a fairly large, dark, slightly elongated body, and was discovered on October 5th, 1855 by Hermann Goldschmidt.

Atalante and Hippomenes (Nicolas Colombel)
Atalante and Hippomenes (Nicolas Colombel)

The asteroid is named after the mythological Greek huntress Atalanta, who married Hippomenes after he won her hand by the unusual means of beating her in a foot race. She was a good runner though, and Hippomenes would have been killed had he lost, so he needed to slow her down, and used the lure of golden apples provided by Aphrodite strewn in her path to achieve this.

Italian astronomer Giorgio Abetti was born in Padua on this day in 1882. His father was also an astrononer, specialising in positional astronomy, but Abetti junior was a solar specialist, and led expeditions to observe eclipses from Siberia in 1936 and the Sudan in 1952. He now has his own lunar crater on the edge of the Mare Serenitatis which he shares with his father, and an asteroid, number 2646.

Asteroid 37 Fides was discovered today in 1855 by Robert Luther.

Asteroid 2839 Annette discovered in 1929 by Clyde Tombaugh and named after his daughter.